Braun, Wilcox Say Vax Requirement ‘Heavy-Handed,’ But Providence, Democrats Approve

Delta Variant: State Mandate Follows Providence’s Own Policy

By Claudia Yaw /
Posted 8/11/21

Officials at Providence — whose Centralia and Olympia hospitals care for the bulk of Lewis County’s severe COVID-19 cases — say they support Washington’s new vaccine mandate …

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Braun, Wilcox Say Vax Requirement ‘Heavy-Handed,’ But Providence, Democrats Approve

Delta Variant: State Mandate Follows Providence’s Own Policy


Officials at Providence — whose Centralia and Olympia hospitals care for the bulk of Lewis County’s severe COVID-19 cases — say they support Washington’s new vaccine mandate for state employees and health care workers. But some of the area’s Republican lawmakers are critiquing the requirement, which is unlikely to be well-received in mostly-unvaccinated Lewis County.

“I would say overall we are seeing our caregivers in support of our updated vaccination policy as well as the governor mandate,” Providence spokeswoman Angela Maki said via email, referring to Providence’s own vaccine mandate. “We fully support Gov. Inslee’s decision and look forward to working with our partners in organized labor to ensure that every health care worker in Southwest Washington is in compliance with these new requirements.”

Providence Chief Executive Darin Goss told county officials this week that he’s unsure of how the mandate will impact the network’s already-taxed workforce, but that Providence is supportive of Washington’s new sweeping requirement.

“Our continued hope is that people who have the choice to be vaccinated will, and recognize that they’re helping those that don’t have that choice right now,” Goss said.

In addition to its own vaccine requirement for caregivers, Providence also recently announced a “no-visitors policy” starting Aug. 11, with the exception of Essential Support People. A news release cited the surge in the highly-transmissible delta variant.

In contrast, Senate Minority Leader John Braun, a Centralian Republican, joined House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, Monday in saying COVID-19 vaccines are “a personal health care choice and should not be mandated by any level of government.

“Threatening to terminate someone’s job if they don’t comply with this requirement is heavy-handed and wrong.”

They added: “Vaccinations can save lives and we strongly encouraged people to get them. We have been vaccinated ourselves.”

Instead of a mandate, the top Republicans recommended the governor look to incentives. Washington did follow other states in running a vaccine lottery system to encourage people to get the shot. Back then, Wilcox called the program “not the worst” of Inslee’s decisions, although he stopped short of praising it.

Aberdeen’s Rep. Jim Walsh — the Republican who previously compared the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” lottery program to “The Hunger Games,” a trilogy in which children are forced to fight to the death — had a harsher reaction to the new vaccine mandate.

In a statement, the outspoken conservative said the governor “should expect widespread resistance to these latest constitutionally dubious edicts.”

Walsh previously sported a yellow Star of David to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates — a stunt he later apologized for.

While some Republicans are balking at the new mandate, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, of Spokane, and House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, of Tacoma, called Inslee’s announcement “an important step in stopping the spread of the virus and its variants.”

The delta variant is behind the current surge in COVID-19 cases. This week, Lewis County reported the highest-ever weekly case count in what officials have called an alarming level of community spread.

“State employees and health care providers serve the public. Being vaccinated with a safe, effective vaccine is a simple extension of that commitment,” Billig and Jinkins wrote. “We applaud the governor’s actions to keep Washingtonians safe.”

Washington state is now aligned with a handful of other states — California, New York and Virginia — mandating COVID-19 vaccines for some employees. In some cases, a regular COVID-19 testing option is available. Federal employees are also required to get vaccinated or mask up, distance and get regularly tested for the virus. Members of the military are also expected to soon be required to get the jab.



2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Erland

    Braun and Wilcox suffer from the virus of ignorance and lack social responsibility. For people voted in to serve the public, they are doing a horrible joh of doing so with equity in mind. To state getting the vaccine is a personal choice at this point in not only irresponsible... it is malicious. Malicious because the statements come from a place of political discord, not human compassion.

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this

  • DuddlyDoRightTwo

    We have a Constitution that protects the freedom of individuals. We now have the US government using tax payer dollars to pay private companies for vaccines that have not yet even received full medical safety reviews by the FDA in which the FDA, the CDC, WHO and many other nation's public health departments have recognized that that these EUA vaccines can have severe 'short term' impacts upon the individual from immediate development of blood clots and developing Guillian Barre Syndrome. Since these pharma companies are exempted from financial liabilities from the harms that might impact the individual and the federal compensation program only provides a token compensation amount that leaves the individual and/or family to deal with burdens of any adverse responses. Will those advocating forced vaccinations provide an 'incentive' that they will fully provide for the harms or death for those harmed by mandatory vaccinations? No??? Will will those private citizens who are demanding that everyone take these EUA injections step up to their social and community concerns and share their incomes with anyone who has been harmed by taking these injections? I haven't read of any of them willing to support such harmed persons or their impacted families for the rest of their lives.

    There are WARNINGS attached to all of the injections. WARNINGS that are not there for decoration but to caution those who are considering the injections to take into consideration PRIOR to taking the injections. WARNINGS infer that one should still have a right to REJECT the injections as harmful to their health. I have yet to encounter a single person who has taken these injections who has been fully informed about the adverse reactions and none of them have read about the possible adverse reactions on their own. How is it possible to be this uninformed when one's health is involved? One woman I know was given the adverse information AFTER she was doing her mandatory 15 minutes waiting in her vehicle. And two weeks later as she was telling me of her experience she asked me "exactly what to they mean, an adverse event is? I didn't understand that". TWO weeks after her injection someone finally explained to her what 'adverse events' means and how such things can impact one's health. She opted not to go back for a second dose. Her choice after actually being FULLY informed with what the pharma companies and the FDA provide.

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this